This week I found a fantastic resource very similar to Independent Interpreters in Washington D.C but established in the Bay Area. I am always thrilled to find networks of interpreters working in the freelance arena in a public facing way as it supports our clients right to choose. With so much of the controversy surrounding AB5 directly impacting relationships between agencies and interpreters, a group like this makes incredible sense.
The Bay Area Independent Interpreters page directs potential clients (requestors) to interpreters with posted profiles including their bio, credentials and areas of practice. Along with specialties, their headshots accompany options to request services or send a quick email. While this may seem fairly straightforward and common, the practice of interpreters registering as independent agents is increasingly rare.
Networks like these offer our clients the ability to choose their interpreter, often at a better rate and on their own terms. This reduces the burdens many agencies face when left with a staffing shortage like the one we’re currently experiencing with the increase in VRI work available. Our clients are now able to source their own interpreters, in a confident way which only increases the amount of work variety available to our colleagues. When charging a higher rate in the field for direct services, negotiations with agencies are stronger. Systems like these literally raise the tide for all of our boats to be able to make a living wage without the political hoops necessary in many instances just to maintain a decent schedule.
With agency work often being viable in larger metropolitan cities, some interpreters simply don’t have the time to fill or may be intimidated by the idea of going solo. With incredible networks like BAII and supportive resources like Foundations in Freelance, we can push our industry forward to a more independent future filled with choices for our clients. We’re in the process of reaching out to interpreters apart of these networks to find out more about their experience working independently and how they’ve found success outside of the agency model. Stay tuned!